What are backlinks and why do I need them? Backlinks explained quite simply are links from other websites that direct their users to your site. Search engines use the number of links, the quality of the links, and the relevance of the links in part to determine your score. Backlinks are an essential factor for SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaign. Although the exact formula for each search engine’s algorithm is a closely guarded secret we can make educated decisions to enhance our probability of affecting our sites SERP’s. Search Engine Results Page’s.
It might help to think of backlinks as a popularity contest. The more backlinks your site has would suggest that you are a trusted source of information. This is only true if your backlinks meet certain qualifications. Before I go any further I must explain that even though you want a lot of links back to your site you also want those links to be quality links. What are quality links? Well, the links should be coming from legitimate sites and be natural. A quick google search will provide you with a bunch of paid services that will give your site backlinks. These are frowned upon by search engines. If your website is about gardening and you have backlinks coming from gambling sites or pornography you better bet you are going to get downgraded. Less extreme but still suspect is your gardening site has backlinks from completely unrelated sites like extreme motocross parts.
What natural links look like in the wild. If your site is about all natural gardening and remaining pesticide free. You might expect to see backlinks from natural lifestyle bloggers or composting equipment companies. Those types of links would appear completely natural because your message resonates with that of the linking sites.
There are many ways to accumulate backlinks. I will use these traditional terms to describe them. There are white hat links, gray hat links, and black hat links. If you are unfamiliar with these terms think of the old cowboy movies where the good guy always wore the white hat and the bad guy wore the black hat. Grey hat guy is somewhere in the middle. I only recommend white and gray methods in this post. I say gray because depending on your risk tolerance you might think a particular method is perfectly acceptable where someone with a lesser tolerance for risk might deem this tactic as questionable.
So how do I get these backlinks? The simplest answer is through content. If your site offers exceptional content that people find useful they will naturally link back to it as a reference. This is the most white hat and natural way to accumulate backlinks. These will most likely be the most powerful links as well. (A natural lifestyle blogger linking back to your gardening website.) This link carries with it trust and authority. The readers of the blogger have similar values and will fall in line with your message as well.
Similar to having killer content you might produce awesome infographics. Many people love infographics that explain complex topics through visual interpretation. As a bonus to the popularity of infographics, they can also carry your link when being shared. You don’t need to be a programmer to embed code. Here are a few resources to get started:
Whoa ^^^ 3 natural backlinks. This blog post talks about links and embedding code then out of nowhere I drop 3 natural backlinks.
What about directories. They are believed to not be as powerful of links as they once were but I believe as long as they are relevant they are fine. By relevant I mean if you have a gardening website and you are being listed on a gardening resource guide you are fine. If you are being listed on a website next to pharmaceutical links and travel agencies then you will probably be penalized for this.
Another popular method of link building involves networking. Networking with bloggers, networking with industry experts, networking in general. If you develop a relationship with a blogger in your industry you can simply ask for a backlink or provide some sort of value to them that would warrant a backlink. What would value look like? Well, many bloggers struggle to continually offer new articles. You might reach out to them and offer to write a guest post. This would add value to their efforts and would certainly warrant a backlink. How about that awesome shovel that you use and can’t stop telling everyone about. Why not contact that company and write an awesome review in exchange for a backlink. That sounds reasonable, right?
What about your competition? You may check out what others in your field are doing. Maybe they are being listed somewhere that you have not thought of. What if you are doing your research and discover that the backlink to a site similar to yours is broken or no longer valid? Why not contact the webmaster of that site and let them know about it. Of course, you could always give them your own site’s link if they would like to reference you.
There are so many ways to create backlinks. This article in no way suggests it is an all inclusive guide. We did not cover buying links or purchasing expired domains to add 301 redirects intentionally. Those tactics are more of the gray to black hat methods and this guide was written as a simple reference. Just keep in mind that backlink will help your site become more likely to be displayed by search engines.
My take away points are.
You need to make an effort to accumulate backlinks.
The backlinks should be as relevant as possible.
The links should also come from good neighborhoods.
Happy link building and good luck. If you have any suggestions on how you build links and would like to share them please do so in the comments section.